Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW) has announced the roll-out of Certified Signing Specialist Standards, a best-practices guideline for Notaries who handle loan signings. The new roll-out is seen as an effort from SPW to provide an enhanced customer experience to borrowers while ensuring compliance with federal regulations for choosing service providers.
The newly rolled-out Standards certify that the Notaries hired to complete the mortgage loan signings have the required qualifications set forth by the real estate finance industry. SPW rolled-out the Standards by enlisting the services of National Notary Association (NNA) in the capacity of an expert advisor and member without voting powers.
SPW would continue to review the Standards as and when there are significant changes in the federal regulations or the operating circumstances in the market.
Thomas Heymann, president and CEO of NNA said, “After the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued the ‘Service Providers’ Bulletin in April 2012, financial institutions have been held accountable for verifying the credentials of their third-party service providers. Until now, there were no consistent or broadly acceptable standards for the Notaries who represent lenders at the signing table.”
SPW’s pre-defined standards for being a Certified Signing Specialist would require the notaries to adhere to the Certified Signing Specialist Code of Conduct, which covers various areas such as unauthorized advice, privacy protection, advertising guidelines and reporting of suspicious activities. As part of the Standards roll-out, a common signing script will also be rolled-out providing guidance on how to address the borrower’s concerns without offering unauthorized advice and the circumstances in which the lending company needs to be contacted.
The Notaries wanting to be a Certified Signing Specialist, are required appear in an annual exam and achieve the minimum passing score. The notaries would also need to clear the background check to be conducted annually and maintain US$ 25,000 as Notary errors and omissions insurance.
SPW is a committee formed in 2012 by leading national lenders and title insurance companies with Sam Zaki, Managing Director of Sales, First American Mortgage Services, chairing the committee. NNA, established in 1957, is engaged in providing advice and services to Notaries in America and is a professional authority in the American Notary Office.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi